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Mongrel dog breed

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Mongrel dog breed information and advice

A Mongrel is a dog that’s a mix of two or more dog breeds. They are often referred to as mixed breeds. When you hear the term crossbreed, this means a pup has been purposefully bred to display the characteristics of their parents. But when it comes to Mongrels, due to the mix, it can sometimes be difficult to identify the parentage.

While it may be tricky to pinpoint the exact characteristics and traits of a Mongrel, don’t let that deter you. Mongrels make wonderful, unique pets and are often the perfect blend of different breeds. If you have a Mongrel or are looking to welcome one into your home, here’s the dog care information you need.

Mongrel facts

Lifespan 10 - 13 years
How much £250 - £400
Size varies depending on breed mix
Weight varies depending on breed mix
Colours varies depending on breed mix
Grooming varies depending on breed mix
Temperament varies depending on breed mix
Exercise 30 minutes for small dogs, 30-60 minutes for medium to big dogs

Mongrel insurance

Though Mongrels tend to be resilient dogs, accidents can happen, and health conditions can develop with time. So, it’s wise to make sure your dog is protected by pet insurance at every stage of its life. Dog insurance will help to cover the cost of vet bills for surgery and medication for your mixed-breed dog. It can also help with any ongoing expenses and vet visits.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

Sainsbury's Bank provide Mongrel insurance. With our pet insurance policies, these can be started from the age of 8 weeks and up until the dog’s 8th birthday. The policy can be continued for the dog’s whole lifespan as long as you renew each year.

How to care for a Mongrel

Caring for your dog’s health means making sure they get the right diet, exercise, training and grooming.

Feeding and nutrition

Your dog’s diet needs to give them the correct nutrients. The nutritional content is printed on all dog food packaging. There will also be guidelines on the amount of food your dog needs. This is normally calculated by their weight. If you’re unsure what your dog needs, speak to your vet.

Mongrel puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day. This will need gradually reducing as they get older because adult dogs only need to be fed 1-2 times a day.


Grooming requirements will vary depending on what breeds your dog has been crossed with. Long-haired breeds need brushing with a dog brush 2-3 times a week, whereas a short coat will only need to be brushed once.

Most dogs only need bathing once every 6-8 weeks, or when they are smelly or dirty. If you bath your dog at home this is a good time to give your dog a health check; check your dog’s teeth, eyes and ears for signs of disease. The sooner you notice a health problem, the quicker you can treat it.

All dogs need to have their claws regularly clipped to keep them short. Long claws are more prone to breaking. If you walk your dog on paving, their claws will be worn down, so you won’t need to cut them as often. Dogs walked on grass will need their claws trimming every month or so. You can learn to do this yourself or take them to a groomer or veterinary nurse.

To prevent your dog from getting dental disease, you should brush your dog’s teeth once a day. If you start this at a young age, your dog will get used to it. Make sure you use a dog toothpaste; human toothpaste is toxic to dogs. Plus, dog toothpaste is often flavoured to make it appealing to your dog.


If your Mongrel is considered a small dog, it will need 30 minutes of exercise every day. If they are a medium or large dog, they’ll need between 30-60 minutes. If possible, allow your dog off lead exercise; this will allow your dog to run around and burn off energy, which is better than lead-only exercise. But, make sure you only let them off the lead in a secure area.


Any dog can be trained with patience and persistence. Find what works best for you and your dog. Some dogs love toys and will respond better to a ball, others prefer food. Positive rewards will keep your dog interested in the training and have better outcomes.

It’s easier to toilet train a Mongrel puppy than an adult dog. House training can be difficult in older dogs as they’ll be used to toileting indoors. But, with patience and practice, any dog can learn.

Dog training is great stimulation for your dog both physically and mentally. It can also be a great way to socialise your dog. If you take them to training classes, you’ll learn new tips for training success and your dog will get to make friends.

Temperament and behaviour

The temperament and behaviour of your Mongrel will depend on the breeds that have been crossed. Mongrels often take on characteristics from both sides, creating a unique personality. If they have been crossed with two dogs that are prone to barking, then it’s highly likely that they will be a barker.

To help stop undesirable behaviour, give your dog toys to play with. Bored dogs become destructive and no one wants a chewed shoe.

Common health problems

Health problems linked to Mongrels depend on the cross of breeds. Some breeds are more predisposed to certain issues than others. If you know what breeds are in your Mongrel’s breeding, check out the individual breed guide so you know what problems to look out for.

A benefit of owning a Mongrel is that they are less likely to develop diseases than a pedigree breed. But, it’s still important to protect your dog’s health and provide them with the care they need. Having the right pet insurance policy for your Mongrel will help cover the cost of treatment should any health issues arise. Regular health checks will help your vet to pick up on any problems early on so that they can be treated as soon as possible.

The two most common health issues seen across all dog breeds are dental disease and hip problems.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is a dental infection that causes inflammation of the gums. It occurs when food and bacteria collect along the gum causing a build-up of plaque. If this plaque is left it turns to tartar, which contains bacteria that will cause inflammation and infection in the gum tissue. Your dog may be reluctant to eat due to the pain.

Your vet can remove the tartar and any unhealthy teeth. Antibiotics will be given to treat any infection. It’s a progressive disease that can be prevented by brushing your dog’s teeth daily, removing the plaque before it turns into tartar.

Hip dysplasia

This condition affects the ball-and-socket of the hip joint. The joint surfaces rub together instead of sliding smoothly into place. It’s a hereditary disease but can also be affected by diet and exercise. Overweight or over-exercised dogs are more likely to suffer from the condition.

If your dog is showing signs of leg weakness, it may be suffering from hip dysplasia. Take your dog to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

Hip replacement surgery may be needed if the condition is severe. In some cases, the pain can be managed with pain relief and anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by your vet. Your dog will need to take this medication for the rest of its life. Weight control and a restricted exercise programme will also help with the pain.

Hip dysplasia will lead to arthritis in the hip joints in later life. Your dog’s joints will become stiff and movement will be painful. But with medication, most dogs still live a good quality of life.

What is a Mongrel?

A Mongrel is a dog that has been cross bred with two or more different dog breeds. It cannot be defined as one breed because the parents are different breeds. If the parents are also mixed breeds, the puppy will contain genes from multiple dog breeds.

What does Mongrel mean?

Mongrel is the name given to a dog that has no definable type or breed. They are also known as a crossbreed, mixed breed or half-breed. A Mongrel will be created by breeding two dogs that are different breeds. The parents could also be Mongrels.

Are Mongrel dogs healthy?

Mongrel dogs tend to be healthy, however it is possible for them to inherit diseases from any of the breeds that they have been crossed with. However, they are less likely to be affected if only one of their inherent breeds is linked to a specific condition. If Mongrels are given the correct care and medical attention when they need it, they are likely to live happy, healthy lives.

So, is a Mongrel right for you?

With Mongrels, it’s never clear what you are going to get. The puppy could be more like one breed than another. So, if you’re not set on a certain breed and you like surprises, then a Mongrel would be well suited to you.

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Vetstream Ltd (online) Hip dysplasia Owner Factsheet.. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: opens in new window

Penman S, Thompson M & Oxford M (online) Periodontal disease. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: opens in new window

Vetstream Ltd (online) Periodontal disease and how to prevent it Owner Factsheet. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: opens in new window

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Important information
Sainsbury's Bank plc, Registered Office, 33 Holborn, London EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no. 3279730) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register no. 184514). Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd is an appointed representative of Sainsbury's Bank plc.
Sainsbury's Bank plc acts as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered Office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX. Sainsbury’s Bank plc and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.